Last year, he was the Ravens' starting running back.
This year, he has seven carries in five games played.
It's been a challenging season so far for Javorius Allen, which is why his huge play in Sunday's 21-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers is all the more gratifying to witness, especially for his head coach.
Allen faked out, then breezed through the Steelers' punt protection, skied and blocked Jordan Berry's punt. Wide receiver Chris Moore scooped and scored – with Allen high-stepping by his side – to give the Ravens a three-touchdown lead.
"To see him have that kind of impact on the game in special teams speaks volumes for who he is and for how important it is to commit yourself to whatever way you can contribute to the football team," Harbaugh said.
Allen didn't play much special teams in college at USC. He didn't do it much as a rookie in Baltimore either, when he started six games, ran for 514 yards, caught 45 passes for 353 yards and scored three touchdowns.
But now as the No. 3 running back, behind Terrance West and rookie Kenneth Dixon, special teams is Allen's way to be active on gameday. He didn't suit up in the Ravens' first three games, but has been on the field every Sunday since.
"Buck and I have a really kind of interesting relationship," Harbaugh said. "He's a competitive guy, and he wants to play. And, he wants to play running back. He hasn't been a special teams player in college and things like that. He's had to really work hard to become a special teams player."
The Ravens specifically schemed up the play to get Allen free.
Allen came to Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg during the game saying that his blocker was letting him run free. Before the snap, he was taking off outside. Rosburg listened and gave Allen a chance to make a play.
Sure enough, Steelers rookie safety Sean Davis, a University of Maryland product, sidestepped Allen as he came running in, giving Allen an open path to the punter.
It's the Ravens' fourth blocked kick in just eight games this season. They had a blocked extra point in Cleveland (Lawrence Guy), blocked field goal in Jacksonville (Brent Urban) and blocked field goal against the New York Jets (Brandon Williams).
"I knew I could get a block on him. If I faked like I was rushing and then go under, I knew I was going to block it," Allen said. "I just want to be a playmaker, honestly. If it's playing running back or anywhere on the field. I just want to be a playmaker."
Allen said he's always been committed to special teams.
"Just because I'm not getting runs at running back doesn't mean I'm not going to be committed," he said. "It's the game of football. I love it no matter what I'm doing."
Allen's block set up Moore for his second career touchdown and second in as many games – both on special teams. Moore also recovered a muffed punt against the New York Jets when the snap went through the punter's hands. Once again, Moore showed his ability to snatch the loose ball and find the end zone.
"I told him I threw him an alley-oop," Allen said. "He has to 'Blake Griffin' it. That's what he did, and I'm proud of him."
"It's crazy," Moore added. "I never thought [my first two touchdowns] would happen like that. I had never scored a special teams touchdown in my life. Now that I have two, it's amazing. It's all thanks to my teammates and God."
Check out all the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens battle the Pittsburgh Steelers.